The Book of Vile Darkness and the Soiling of the Elven City

Norman the Cancer Mage and his companions, Sir Alaban, a paladin of Pelor, Dirk Rendor, a halfling rogue, and Shana T’sha, an elven ranger, have accepted a contract to rescue Erik, the prince of the kingdom of Two Rivers. Erik has run off with a high elf woman to the elven city of Ismara. For some reason this is more shameful to the queen than hiring a walking sewer named Norman to bring her son back. Ismara is said to be built of white stones quarried from before the age of mankind and as our heroes draw near to the city, they see that its beauty has not been exaggerated.

Zack: You know Dirk is still crapping out his guts and probably puking at the same time because Norman infected him with X. Coli.

Steve: How long does that last?

Zack: Several days. When we make camp along the way Norman suggests a hammock to him so he can lie down and just diarrhea through it.

Zack: “Like pushing pudding through a seive.”

Steve: He’ll just ride in a wagon moaning and occasionally making you stop so he can be sick.

Zack: I would call him a party pooper but that is an official title of honor at the parties Norman attends.

Steve: Okay, after days of journey across the countryside, you are at last approaching the high walls of Ismara.

Steve: This scenic elven enclave is located high in the mountains and straddles a waterfall as elven cities tend to do.

Zack: Norman likes to straddle things falling out of other things too! “I like this place already.”

Steve: It looks very, very clean. Walls of flawless white stone and immaculate elves in golden armor protect the city.

Zack: “I like a challenge. Okay, guys, look, we should go incognito. If they know we’re here to put Erik in a sack and drag him back to mommy, they aren’t going to let us in.”

Steve: “We will not put the prince in a sack!” Sir Alban objects.

Zack: “It’s a nice, comfortable sack. I will clean all of the scat and dead animals out of it that I am carrying around and it will be fine. Only a slight cholera in there.”

Steve: Shana snaps, “We are not giving the prince cholera!”

Zack: “Cholera gives itself, we are just helping it along.”

Steve: “Enough bickering,” says Sir Alaban sternly. “We must present a united front when dealing with these elves. They can be wily and dangerous.”

Zack: Let’s approach the gate and talk to the elves. I can talk my way past some perfumed elf jagoffs.

Steve: You approach the golden gate in the white walls. Two elf guards holding halberds and wearing golden armor stand at attention.

Zack: Now I feel bad I didn’t wear my soiled top hat.

Steve: They cross their halberds as you draw near.

Steve: “Why do you approach, outsiders?” One of the guards asks in a lilting voice.

Zack: Trying to fit in, I imitate his lilting voice and explain, “We are but humble travelers making our way in this dangerous world and I wish to use your bathroom.”

Steve: He narrows his eyes and stares at you with annoyance. “Begone, filth-man.”

Zack: “Nice town you have here, real clean and pretty, be a shame if something happened to it…” Stomach gurgling ominously.

Steve: Sir Alaban, who is dragging Dirk everywhere on a little sled, puts the sled down and approaches the elves. “My friend, Norman, has unorthodox habits, fine sirs, but we seek only to enter Ismara and converse with Erik, son of the Queen of Two Rivers.”

Zack: “Also the bathroom part is important. I have nine different intestinal diseases right now and my guts look like a dredge sluice. What I’m saying is if you need to renovate those white walls with slurry I am going to be able to help any minute if you don’t let me point my business end at a toilet.”

Steve: The elf guard warns, “Begone, all of you. And should you attempt to spew your filth upon even the stones that pave the path we will cut you down without mercy.”

Zack: My bowels go from irritable to enraged.

Steve: Sir Alaban puts a hand on your grimy shoulder and leads you away from the gate.

Steve: “We cannot fight or way into this place, my friend. Even if we were to force our way throgh the gate, there are many more elves with many more halberds.”

Zack: I don’t like these guys. They seem to bathe and not leave garbage piled up in the street. That sort of people.

Zack: The worst.

Steve: Sir Alaban walks over and puts a mailed hand on your shoulder.

Steve: “Norman, my friend, there is an expression of Pelor that says, ‘You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.'”

Zack: What kind of flies? Bloat flies like the kind I have infesting my neck are attracted to rotting flesh. Like my neck. Some other types of flies are attracted by living flesh. There is a kind of fly that only lands on the innocent and feeds on their suffering.

Steve: Really? This is a type of fly?

Zack: It might have been a nightmare I had when I fell asleep inside a toilet.

Steve: My point is, you do not have a good way with negotiating. Leave it up to me. Go stand over there and watch over Dirk.

Zack: I get it. You’re embarrassed by me. Because I’m different. Well, I thought we were friends Sir Alaban, but now I know where we stand.

Steve: Norman, please, we have been friends since childhood. Do not throw one of your tantrums.

Zack: Oh, I’m throwing it! I am THROWING this tantrum!

Zack: Going to creep off and look for a sewer or some other sort of entrance into the city.

Steve: Sir Alaban is clearly bummed that you are scampering off. Shana and Dirk seem relieved.

Zack: Dirk seems relieved?

Steve: Well, between horrible cramps of dyssentery. Sir Alaban walks back to try to talk to the elves guarding the gate again.

Zack: Norman is muttering to himself, “Norman, you’re better off without them. They were an unwanted flush of a full toilet. A stream of clean water when all you want is a lagoon of filth.”

Zack: Do I find a sewer?

Steve: There is a sewer tunnel, yes. It is the cleanest sewer you have ever seen. There is even a sweet fragrance in the air almost like flowers.

Zack: Ugggggh! This nightmare of cleanliness the elves have created is turning my stomach.

Zack: I am going to have to go inside the sewer and make a mess.

Steve: Let’s leave the details out.

Steve: It is nightfall by the time your ritual of filth has been completed and you reach the exit from the elf sewer.

Zack: Going to stink my way into the castle.

Steve: That’s not a verb that gets you anywhere.

Zack: Sure it does. I can find some manure or dirty laundry or something and find my way inside.

Steve: First of all they aren’t bringing manure or dirty laundry into the castle.

Steve: Secondly manure and dirty laundry are not nearly stinky enough to hide you.

Steve: That would take like a corpse wagon or something.

Zack: Oooh, okay, what about a graveyard?

Steve: There is one and it is pristine and decidedly not stinky.

Steve: The white stone castle overlooks the town square. Aquaducts carry water to the towers where the elves live. You’re skulking around the sewer but you can’t even leave the alley without the elves noticing something is up.

Zack: The aquaducts! They connect to the sewers somewhere, right?

Steve: They are all high up, like bridges crossing back and forth over the lower town to reach the towers. But yes, there is an area you saw in the sewer where a waterfall of clean water plunged down into the murk of the sewer.

Zack: Ha! Yes, going back to my freshly-stenched sewer and levitating up the waterfall. Like a leaf blown aloft by a sickened fart.

Steve: Alright, you float up the water and you are in one of the aquaducts. Pure streamwater flows down the stone channel.

Steve: You realize you are going to be contaminating all this water, right?

Zack: Can I?

Steve: There are three aquaducts. You wold have to get to the other two as well.

Zack: Can I climb to them?

Steve: You are actually in the upper one which crosses over the other two lower aquaducts.

Zack: Ooh, okay. I am going to swim or wade upstream or whatever until I get to the part that crosses over the other ones and then I am going to throw a rotten boot in each of those.

Zack: Each rotten boot also contains a rotten foot.

Steve: Your feet?

Zack: Nah, I bought them off some sort of demon. They’ll eventually give all the elves athlete’s foot.

Steve: That doesn’t sound so bad.

Zack: In their throat and guts. They’re drinking it.

Steve: Right. So are you just going to spread disease or were you going to try to accomplish the mission?

Zack: I would argue that disease is Norman’s mission, but yes, he will use his X. Coli affinity to know exactly where Dirk has been dragged and then start swimming to get into the castle.

Steve: It takes a while because you are swimming upstream, but you make it to a grate that enters the castle. There is no way under it or around it.

Zack: How sturdy is it?

Steve: Way too sturdy for you to break.

Zack: Gaseous form, my man.

Zack: They are literally going to smell me.

Steve: You transform yourself into a puff of stench and drift through the grate.

Zack: Going to float through the castle looking for my buddy, X. Coli.

Steve: You pass throgh sunlit atriums, beautiful gardens, and rooms where elves are dining on elegant meals. You leave every room with people gagging.

Zack: “Hey there, how is everybody?”

Steve: Eventually you reach a room where Dirk is reclining in a steamy hot bathtub.

Zack: Going to drift down into the water and reform next to him.

Zack: “How’s it going, Dirk?”

Steve: He dies.

Zack: What?

Steve: You appear next to him and Dirk, weakened by his prolonged illness, sees your hideous face and dies.

Zack: I straight up Winkie’s’d his ass.

Steve: Now you have a dead halfling floating next to you in a bathtub.

Zack: Would not be the first time.

Zack: I need to find this prince or whatever I have to haul back to his mom.

Zack: Going to get out of the tub and look around for an exit.

Steve: With the exception of the tub, which now looks like it is filled with crap, the room is as clean as the rest of the castle. There is an arched doorway nearby.

Zack: Heading through.

Steve: You are surprised by an elf man in a white cloak.

Zack: “Ehhhh, hey there, I went to use the toilet in there and somebody got a halfling stuck in the drain. Do you think you could take a look?”

Steve: “What… eh… who are you?”

Zack: “I’m Erik’s manservant. He sends me to go to the bathroom for him.”

Steve: “Oh!”

Steve: “Wait, how do you go to the bathroom for someone?”

Zack: Norman sighs and then says, “Come on, I’ll show you.”

Zack: Once he’s inside the bathroom I am going to use Ghoul Touch on him.

Steve: Paralyzes him and makes him stink like death?

Zack: Yeah. Then I am going to dunk his head in the bathtub.

Steve: You’re killing him?

Zack: I’m finishing his storyline in the adventure.

Zack: Norman is evil, Steve. I thought we had established that.

Steve: Alright, you dunk the elf guy’s head in the filthy bath. He slides into the water floating alongside Dirk.

Zack: See, it looks like there was an accident.

Zack: Just two guys, taking a bath, one of them fully clothed, and then… the accident.

Steve: What was the accident?

Zack: Death… stranding?

Steve: The elves will not think this was an accident.

Zack: Then I need to dispose of the bodies.

Zack: How long would it take me to eat them?

Steve: It would take you hours to eat Dirk. This other guy is way too big te eat right here.

Zack: What about a place where I could dump the bodies?

Steve: The city straddles that river. You could drop them into it and they would go over a waterfall.

Zack: That sounds fun. Let’s do that.

Steve: Most of the river access is in wide open plazas, but I will say as you made your way into the city through the aqueduct you saw a secluded area where the elves dispose of their garbage into the river.

Zack: Perfect, I have lots of garbage.

Steve: Just to be clear, you are carrying the dead halfling in your backpack and dragging a soaking wet dead elf through the city to get to this spot?

Zack: Yes?

Steve: Alright, you are dragging this guy along, water everywhere in the hallways, when you hear a cry of surprise and a loud crash.

Zack: Stop dragging the dead guy and check out the source of the sound.

Steve: You see one of those warriors in gold armor struggling to get up. Apparently he slipped on the wet stone. He is trying to brace on his huge pike while he levers himself to his feet.

Zack: I need to deal with this guy quickly and quietly and make it look like an accident.

Zack: I am going to cast Monster Summonin III and summon d3 fiendish giant spiders.

Steve: That is quick and quiet?

Zack: It will look like an accident!

Steve: That he was killed by spiders and covered in filthy water?

Zack: You’re right.

Zack: I’ll go with d3 large monstrous centipedes.

Steve: Alright, dude, from your nightmare realm of filth you summon three large centipedes with brown bodies and red heads, their jaws dripping with venom.

Steve: The elven guard goes crazy sliding and slipping all over the place and shouting for help.

Zack: Going to get back to dragging the guy down the hall and leave these centipedes to their work.

Steve: Yeah, they jump on him and twist around him and start biting him.

Steve: His screams become agonized.

Steve: You hear other boots hurrying towards you.

Zack: Can I tell where they are coming from?

Steve: It sounds like they are all coming down a staircase.

Zack: Get to a location where I can see them arrive all at once and then I am roasting them with a filthy fireball.

Steve: Alright, dude, you set up at the exit from the staircase and these three guards come rushing out. You loose a fireball of roiling filth and burning garbage in their direction. It explodes and reduces them to twisted corpses contorted in agony.

Zack: How am I going to make this one look like an accident?

Steve: The centipede guy isn’t going to look like an accident either.

Zack: Fair point. I have to drag all these guys to the trash dump.

Steve: How are you going to drag five dead bodies?

Zack: Well you said the three I hit with a fireball were reduced to cinders, so they probably don’t weigh much. I will use the drowned guy’s clothes or maybe the centipede’s guy’s cape. Does he have a cape?

Steve: No cape.

Zack: Okay, stripping the drowned guy and tying his clothes together to create like a wagon train to drag all these guys.

Steve: Just to set the scene, you have a dead halfling in your backpack, like a grim papoose, and then a naked drowned guy, three burned husks of corpses, and guy who is all swollen and covered in centipede bites and you are going to drag them through the lower level of the elf city.

Zack: Right.

Zack: If anyone asks I will say I am a medic and I’m taking them to the healer.

Steve: This is maybe the worst plan I have ever heard.

Zack: Is there any way I could lash those giant centipedes up to drag bodies?

Steve: No, they are already gone back to whatever hell sewer you spawned them from.

Steve: You start dragging this caravan of corpses through the white stone halls of the elven city, leaving smears of blood and burnt flesh all over.

Zack: Don’t forget the filthy disease I am constantly shedding on the ground.

Steve: That too.

Steve: You create a trail that is pretty easy to follow. You scare off a couple elves that scream and run away, but you reach your destination.

Steve: It’s a plattform of stone constructed out over the river. Even though it is basically their garbage dump, it is still immaculate. The river and waterfall thunder beneath the platform.

Zack: Ugh. I’ll be sure to smear the corpses around a lot more.

Steve: You hear boots approaching rapidly behind you.

Zack: “Sorry, guys, no time for me to wallow around in your corpses.” I shove them off the platform one by one.

Steve: Just as the last corpse slips into the river, several figures emerge onto the platform behind you. One is a beautiful elf mage babe, two are guards in golden armor, and then there are your friends, and a young man and young elf woman you do not recognize clinging together.

Steve: “Norman, what are you doing?” Sir Alban asks.

Zack: “Oh, just cleaning up a little bit.”

Steve: Shana says, “The worst lie he has ever told.”

Zack: “You would be surprised.”

Steve: Shana demands, “Where is Dirk?”

Zack: Oh, uh, I saw him on this platform. He was dragging a bunch of garbage here and then he fell in the river.

Steve: Sir Alban rushes to the edge of the platform, “By Pelor! We must rescue him!”

Zack: “I tried, he said he was so guilty after murdering some elves that he had to commit suicide. He wanted to die.” I put my hand on my old friend’s arm. “I am sorry, Dirk is gone.”

Steve: Sir Alban tears up, but Shana isn’t buying it. “You gave him some disease and probably killed him.”

Zack: “I will accept blame for the disease,” says Norman, acting very sad. “I am afraid I just make people sick. It is my condition.”

Steve: The beautiful elf mage babe steps forward. She totally has one of those low-cut gowns where you can see the sides of her boobs and they are seriously nice boobs.

Zack: If they’re not all rashy and cystic then Norman begs to differ.

Steve: “I sense a great evil,” she says, pointing at Norman. “You must leave Ismara immediately and never return.”

Zack: Seems a bit racist, doesn’t it?

Steve: Sir Alban steps forward. “Do not insult my friend’s honor. He is no more evil than the night that follows the day. Darkness must contrast with light.”

Zack: “Your words wound me oh woman of some chestishness,” Norman says, gesturing dramatically. “Please, my lady, I beg your forgiveness.”

Zack: Going to bow before her and then when I stand up sneeze on her.

Zack: And give her a viral agent.

Steve: X. Coli?

Zack: How about kuru, the violent madness that comes from eating brains?

Steve: I don’t think you can transmit that by a sneeze unless you sneezed out brains and they went into her mouth.

Zack: Honestly, sounds possible.

Steve: Okay, she has kuru.

Steve: But you sneezing on the elf mage lady gets you seized by her guards.

Steve: “Take them to the gates and throw them out!” She says, spitting like when someone gets a gnat in their mouth.

Zack: Ah, yes, good old gnat mouth.

Steve: You are dragged by the guards and the the others follow behind.

Zack: So, mission accomplished, right?

Steve: Sir Alban says, “Yes, my old friend, we have persuaded Erik to leave with us, though he will be bringing his elf bride.

Zack: “A pleasure to meet you both and good luck with the wedding.” Shaking their hands to give them disease. Nothing fatal, just something fun like headlice or maybe worms.

Steve: The elf woman won’t touch your hand. She hides her face in Erik’s shirt when you approach.

Zack: I guess all elves are racist. That just means they are inferior to humans.

Zack: So am I getting paid?

Steve: You return Erik and his elf bride to Two Rivers and the queen immediately sends the elf girl to the dungeon. Sir Alban objects, but she insists that she will not have her son marrying an elf.

Zack: “Harsh but fair. They’re all racists.”

Steve: You are paid the gold promised and then told by the queen to leave Two Rivers and never return. Several dozen peasants have cholera already and it’s not like she suspects you it’s like they know it was you.

Zack: “Sounding pretty racist,” I say. “Come on Sir Alban. We can do better.”

Steve: “Yes, my old friend. Onward to greater glories!”

Zack: Steve, I hated this adventure.

Zack: I hate Norman.

Zack: I hate him so much it almost ruined our website.

Steve: You can’t blame a character you created.

Zack: Okay, maybe there was some other stuff happening in my life, but Norman is the worst and I never want to play as him again.

Steve: Noted, dude.

Steve: Thanks to all our patreon supporters for their incredible patience! This was a labor of hatred to finish and now we will move on to brighter and more normal things.

Zack: I’m sure 2018 will also be a much better year than 2017. Because we haven’t been on a steady downward trend or anything.

Steve: Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!